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Mega Bloks Group Commissions First-of-its-Kind Pilot Clinical Research Study to Validate the Positive Impact Block Play Has On Children’s Focus, Attention, and Learning


National Survey Released Today Suggest Parents Understand The Value Of Block Play, But Many Are Unaware Of How Excessive Media Exposure And Other Distractions Can Negatively Impact Focus, Attention And Learning

MONTREAL (September 20, 2005) – Award-winning educational toy manufacturer, Mega Bloks Inc. (TSX: MB), today announced that the company is underwriting a first-of-its-kind independent pilot clinical research study to evaluate the developmental benefits Mega Bloks’ building toys have on focus, attention, and learning.

“With more than two million children in the U.S. currently diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), and with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affecting more than 10 percent of children in the U.S., the statistics are worrisome,” said Dimitri Christakis, MD MPH and Director of the Child Health Institute. “Even among children without these disorders, we believe over-exposure to media and technology may impede children’s ability to focus and pay attention.”

Under the premise that children’s attention and focus skills are threatened by excessive media exposure and other distractions, the Child Health Institute of the University of Washington will conduct a year-long study of 200 children between the ages of 18 to 30 months to determine whether interaction with Mega Bloks building toys can have a positive balancing effect on children’s development. The pilot research study will begin immediately and results are expected in August 2006.

“We are focused on enriching the lives of children who play with our toys, and as such have been recognized as a world leading toy company,” said Vic Bertrand, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Mega Bloks. “This pilot research study will expand what we hold to be true about the positive effect building block play can have on child development and learning.”

Citing parental feedback gained through conducting numerous focus groups, Mr. Bertrand added, “We know parents value our educational block toys in that they hold the attention of their children.” A Harris Interactive® survey commissioned by Mega Bloks in August confirmed that 98 percent of parents1 are aware of at least one of the many key benefits of building block toys.

“We wanted to explore the attention benefit of our block toys further and quantify the potential improvement in a child’s overall ability to focus and pay attention,” said Vic Bertrand. “Educators and researchers believe traditional block play strikes a balance, and ultimately helps children develop a range of skills important to learning.”
According to a national Harris survey, though 76 percent of parents believe various forms of entertainment may have a negative impact on their child’s attention span and learning, only 51 percent of parents agreed that their child’s ability to focus and pay attention may impede his/her learning potential.

“Block play is one of the most intellectually rewarding play activities in which a child can mentally and physically engage,” said Dr. Jane M. Healy, child development expert, well-known author of Your Child’s Growing Mind. “Based on the Harris survey, it seems not enough parents fully understand how important children’s focus and attention skills are for learning.” Dr. Healy added, “There is a fundamental difference in a child’s attention skill strength when their attention is being passively stimulated, such as through television, and their attention is being actively concentrated, such as through block play. We hope to educate parents on both of these issues through this revolutionary pilot research study.”

Led by Dr. Christakis, The University of Washington research team will conduct a randomized controlled trial that will involve providing 100 of the children with a set of Mega Bloks toys at the beginning of the study. The remaining children will not receive the Mega Bloks toys until the conclusion. The research team will evaluate the developmental differences between both groups at the end of the trial.
“This study will help us determine whether building blocks allow children the possibility to become playfully immersed in the activity and further encourage them to talk and share ideas with others,” said Dr. Christakis. “By using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, and the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, we will measure changes in children’s language development, in their attention spans, and in the amount of television viewing as a result of introducing blocks into their daily routines.”

Mega Bloks Expands the Appeal of The Classic Toy
“At Mega Bloks we provide children with tools that help build valuable skills for life,” added Mr. Bertrand. “We are thrilled about this opportunity with The University of Washington as we strongly believe that the research will expand on the benefits many consumers associate with our blocks, such as improved hand-eye coordination, creativity, and math and science skills. We are excited to prove through research that our blocks are part of the solution to helping kids improve their focus and attention skills in a world where this skill set seems to be worsening.”

About The Mega Bloks Group

The Mega Bloks Group of companies under the MEGA BLOKS and ROSE ART brands, produces high quality, fun and educational toys, crafts, stationery and school supplies that stimulate kids, caregivers and educators to play and learn together under a unique creative platform. Headquartered in Montreal, Mega Bloks is a global organization with presence in 14 countries and sales in over a hundred. For more company information, visit

About The Child Health Institute

The Child Health Institute (CHI) is a joint research effort comprising faculty from the University of Washington’s Division of General Pediatrics, the Maternal and Child Health program within the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington. Established in 1998, CHI consolidates pediatric health services research under one roof and organizational umbrella. CHI’s particular areas of interest include: clinical effectiveness, community-based research, evidence-based medicine, quality of care, and health informatics.

About the Harris Interactive® Survey

Harris Interactive® fielded two separate online surveys on behalf of Megabloks, Inc. The first, occurring between August 11 and 15, 2005, was conducted among a nationwide sample of 2,234 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, of whom 508 are the parent or legal guardian of a child or children aged 14 or younger. The second, occurring between August 19 and 23, 2005, was conducted among a nationwide sample of 2,300 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, of whom 552 are the parent or legal guardian of a child or children aged 14 or younger. The data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results for each survey have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the results of those who are a parent or legal guardian of a child or children aged 14 or younger in each survey is plus or minus 6 percentage points. These online samples are not probability samples.

® and ™ denoted trademarks of Mega Bloks Inc. Other trademarks are used under license. The term
“parents” refers to U.S. adults aged 18+ who are the parent or legal guardian of a child or children aged 14 years or younger.

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